Disney Research has revealed a new concept smartwatch that is able to identify items the wearer is touching.
The “EM-Sense” watch, which is a partnership between Disney and Carnegie Mellon University, uses electromagnetic noise profiles to detect objects.
The electromagnetic noise given off by electromechanical objects is distinctive and can be used to classify them. So, if you grab a door knob, or pick up your smartphone, the EM-Sense tech can discern what it is.
“We can detect and classify EM signals in real-time, enabling quick and robust detection of when an object is touched and what that object is,” a demonstration video explains.
The watch, which is a steampunked Samsung Galaxy Gear watch, will work on anything electrical, on large metallic objects, as well as door knobs/handles and window frames.
All of the items will need to be classified beforehand, after which the research says the watch is 96.1% accurate.
Disney says the watch could have plenty of practical uses, especially in the home, but also in transport, education, the office and the workshop.
When the user picks up his electronic toothbrush, the watch will automatically set a timer. Data will also be displayed whenever the user steps on a weighing scale.
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If the wearer touches the refrigerator and stove during the morning, the EM-Sense tech will infer they’re cooking breakfast and play a morning news bulletin.
Users will also be able to by-pass their passwords by touching their laptops, the video explains.
Disney hasn’t said whether it plans to take the proof of concept into a commercial venture, but it certainly opens up a host of possibilities for smartwatch makers to explore.